Single After Divorce: 6 Easy Ways to Recommit to Summer
Summer is here, whether our vulnerability is ready for it or not. For many of us women, single after divorce, summer can mean reading others’ out-of-office message replies and wondering where we will go now, now that we’re alone.
Maybe, post-divorce we’re not feeling the smörgåsbord of summer choices we used to have. Maybe our children are traveling to camp, or between their parents’ houses. That can be sad as we think about the vacations we used to have. Maybe our kids have grown and this summer means weddings and people to meet who don’t know we’re divorced, and we might have to explain our status, or not? Maybe we’ll bump into him at these gatherings? Is that a twinge of anxiety, indifference, or full-blown terror you feel? Maybe these oncoming warmer days bring a host of new emotions, and many we’d be just as happy not to face.
Reflections on Changing Atmospheres and Personal Realizations
It’s a Sunday afternoon in New York City, and I have my windows closed, though it is 79 degrees. The tragic Canadian Forest Fires and dark, apocalyptic clouds have changed the atmosphere we take for granted, or what we used to take for granted pre-911. That and COVID and climate change, and now so many things have altered the quality of light, the air, and the tempo of every day. I feel especially older. I think of how my two sons live far away.
I’m divorced, ten years out and don’t regret a moment. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other moments of aloneness and sadness. I might still cry to myself. There is an irony to the sun sort of being out, when it’s grief and loss I am feeling most profoundly today.
I’ve been having a hard time at work of late, and this spring, I avoided thoughts about any rewarding vacation because I couldn’t see a classic trip in the financial cards. But now that summer is here, there’s a part of me that feels downright sorry for myself.
I’ve been here before. That’s the good and the bad news I can share as a divorcée of a certain age.
I may have no spectacular summer plans yet planned, but I’ve developed coping mechanisms for shifting the clouds in my heart. I remind myself summer can feel a little off kilter because of its romanticization. And being a die-hard romantic, I know I need to activate my tools to navigate the summer downers.
I need to get over myself.
How to Optimize Being Single After Divorce and Recommit to Summer in 6 Easy Ways
1. Find your source
As you consider summer, ask yourself, what gentle, daily practice makes sense for you? What activates your brain, heart, body, and soul no matter the weather? What restores your balance?
No, I am not talking about a daily check in with Tinder.
You might get out in nature and go for a daily walk, or pursue an activity that encourages full awareness. Meditation, breathing exercises, body scans help us slow down, notice, and self-connect. These activities build our strength, commitment to self, and resilience. They help bring peace. They replenish us when we’re feeling bereft from the gaping holes of loss.
For me, it’s an early morning swim before I start anything and my day gets away. I know when I am in the water it’s only for me, and no one can bother me. My body is cleansed, my muscles are gently stimulated, my system is evened out. And the endorphins afterward carry me through for hours, causing me to smile. Swimming softens my edges.
Moving on after divorce.
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2. Strengthen your boundaries to honor your routines
You know this, being a world-class caregiver, it’s not easy for you to prioritize your needs. It doesn’t come naturally. You’ve been working on that since the divorce, but let’s remind you that your new self-care routines need boundaries so they stand the best chance of succeeding.
Honor your routines. Set specific time aside for self-care, enough sleep, eating the right food, moving your body, connecting with your most important people, and disconnecting from technology (and the other habits that don’t serve you). Don’t let others disparage your routines or you doing them. Stick to your plans. You know you best. Let the light of summer help remind you.
3. Cultivate flexibility
Observe your challenges, your problems, your hang ups and consider how you might look at them differently. How might they be invitations for you to grow?
Remember how change can often be so frightening? Remember too, you have faced fear before and survived to tell others about it. Here you are, embracing life after divorce. As you continue to grow and evolve, a world of new and unexpected joys awaits, ready to be discovered and cherished.
Dare yourself to find new ways to stretch. Read “100 Must Do’s for the New Independent Divorced Woman.”
4. Stay grounded as you expand and build out
Flexing your muscle, breaking patterns and learning new things will help you move beyond one daily practice for feeling alive and centered.
But be present and acknowledge your now, this season. If it’s summer, consider what activities would help you connect to the earth for grounding and perspective?
Maybe you are lucky and can go for a morning walk in nature? Spend an hour in the garden tilling soil? Walk along a beach? Swim in the ocean? Bike to a destination and bring a picnic and sit on the ground beneath a tree? Take off your shoes and feel the ground? Just sitting in the sun for a little time can help shift moods and provide Vitamin D.
Connect with Mother Earth. She wants to heal you.
5. Plan other things that make you feel good and sexy
Stop the great sense of duty 24/7. If something you are planning is not going to make you feel good, then it’s not going to inspire you. Your body’s going to resist stepping into it.
Err on the side of being sexy, aim on the side of being bold and venturing into new terrain.
Dare yourself to come up with a “Summer Top 10 List” of items you must do to make this year’s summer a success. And remind yourself you don’t need to spend thousands for you to do summer things.
- Walk into a nice café or bar and order a drink or ice tea
- Go to a museum you’ve never visited before
- Identify a lecture or speaking event you’re interested in and go
- Take a weekend trip by yourself
- Attend an outdoor concert
- Ask yourself where do hot men (or women) go? Go there
- Call an old friend whose company you miss
- Schedule a massage with someone who knows what they’re doing
- Join a dating app and actually go out and meet a few people
- Join Meet Up and attend a group activity that interests you.
6. Finally, reconnect to your senses. Go Greek!
So, it’s hot out, and you’re dreaming of Santorini, but the flights are costly and the time to get there is elusive.
Find ways to transport you somewhere anyhow. Click your phone and visit this link to set the stage. Then in the buff, in your lingerie, or in your bikini, prepare to make a Greek salad. You’ll be using the freshest ingredients possible to ensure the greatest taste of full-blown summer.
Pull out and ready a beautiful salad bowl. As you wait for the cucumbers to drain in the colander, select the olives.
Remind yourself of the first time you tasted a really delicious olive. How far back was that? Where were you? In Greece, Italy, Spain, or Queens? Were you in a restaurant where the olives looked and tasted different from the canned ones you’d known as a kid? Maybe you tasted your first great olive when you went to your friend’s house and her mother, a daughter of Portuguese immigrants, passed you a small dish knowingly, with another for the pits?
Chop the parsley and inhale the vibrant green freshness of life, the purifying taste of parsley, the herb that lives to cleanse our palate and kick up the savory.
Break up the feta cheese and remind yourself how lucky you are to eat as you choose, an exotic cheese that the Greeks have been eating for years.
Chop the onion (like you need to cry anymore), but observe the water that comes from your eyes when moved by thoughts or scents. Count your blessings.
Assemble your salad, toss in the tomatoes. Douse a little olive oil over everything and notice how the gold lubricant luxuriates and moistens the food, and how all of this is just for you. Light a candle in the Taverna, and turn up the music.
You are single after divorce, but your summer doesn’t have to be a situation keeping you a shut in, a victim, or living like in the days of Covid.
Without denying your history, cherished memories, or present reality, you can enjoy the season in fresh and nostalgic ways. In fact, summer can provide you the chance to reconnect with you in your most tender and raw, skinny-dipping glory if you find your source, your time, your commitment, and your plan to stick to it.
If you find you and never ever let yourself go again.
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*We support same-sex marriages. For the sake of simplicity in this article, however, we refer to your spouse as your “husband” or a “he.”